News in brief (15/01/20)

With news on: Veolia calls for safe battery disposal; Defra director holds assembly; upcycling shop celebrates anniversary; Lincolnshire launches fly-tipping campaign

Fires in waste vehicles are up by 37.5% since 2017

Veolia calls for safe battery disposal

With YouGov research suggesting only 43% of the public realise that, if damaged, Lithium-ion batteries can cause fires, waste management company Veolia has called on the public to dispose of their batteries safely.

YouGov’s research, conducted on behalf of Veolia, suggests fires in waste vehicles are up by 37.5% since 2017 and recycling and waste plants suffer more than 300 fires a year.

Fires in waste vehicles are up by 37.5% since 2017

However, the research also found that 73% of Britons know to dispose of their gadgets correctly in HWRCs.

Gavin Graveson, executive vice president at Veolia UK and Ireland, said: “Battery induced fires are a serious and, unfortunately, growing hazard that Veolia is combatting.

“While enjoying your new electronics this year, make sure to take care when recycling your old ones.

“The average UK resident throws away around 24.5 kg of electronics every year.  These materials, if treated properly can be a gift to the planet, returning valuable resources back to be used again so we can, for example, move to electric vehicles more rapidly with less impact from mining more resources.

“So take your batteries out and bring them to our HWRCs and ensure a safe 2020 for all.”

The total sample size of the research, conducted online, was 2022 adults and fieldwork was undertaken between 5-6 December 2019.

Defra deputy director holds assembly

Defra’s deputy director of waste and resources Chris Preston held an assembly at a primary school, Millbank Academy, on waste and the UK’s approach to the topic yesterday (14 January).

Mr Preston received a ceremonial drinking flask

The assembly was organised by A Future without Rubbish, a project run by environmental organisation Clear Public Space, which aims to encourage behavioural change towards rubbish and raise recycling awareness in schools.

Mr Preston led children in a chorus of “reduce, reuse and recycle” and was appointed an agent of the project, receiving a ceremonial drinking flask in the process, an award previously bestowed upon former environment secretary Michael Gove.

Luke Douglas-Home, managing director of Clear Public Space, said: “The project brings everyone – school, businesses, councils and communities – together in this endeavour of reducing waste.”

Financed by council grants from the #MyWestminsterFund, which are available to all voluntary organisations, resident, faith and community groups within Westminster, the project works in schools in Romania and Westminster.

Upcycling shop celebrates anniversary

A charity shop specialising in giving unwanted furniture a new lease of life in St Helens has celebrated its first-year anniversary with a welcome financial boost.

The project has received £8000 through the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority (MRWA) and Veolia Community Fund 2019/20.

ReStore St Helens has celebrated its first birthday

MRWA Chairperson Councillor Tony Concepcion said: “It’s great to see ReStore head into its second year with real success behind it.

“They’re very well run and have identified areas they can specialise in to the benefit of the local community and the environment. Let’s hope this anniversary is the first of many.”

Primarily volunteer run, the ReStore St Helens shop is the brainchild of Changing Communities – a community interest company established by local charity The Hope Centre – and houses an on-site workshop where donated furniture is repaired, restored and upcycled.

Project manager Julie Waring said: “We offer a unique service in that we’re preventing valuable and reusable materials from being wasted, while at the same time giving local people practical work skills.

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the success of the shop, the amount of furniture being rescued and the ongoing support of the community.”

Lincolnshire launches fly-tipping campaign

A campaign to fight fly-tipping in the county and cut clear up costs was launched in Lincolnshire yesterday (14 January).

The SCRAP campaign reminds people to check their waste is being taken away for disposal by a licensed carrier, either by asking to see a Waste Carriers Licence or by looking up the company on the Environment Agency website.

The SCRAP campaign reminds people to check their waste is being taken away for disposal by a licensed carrier

Councillor Roger Gambba-Jones, vice-chair of Lincolnshire Waste Partnership and portfolio holder for place at South Holland District Council, said: “Fly-tipping is illegal, unsightly and pollutes our environment.

“There are lots of ways that people can legally get rid of the things they no longer want, so in addition to asking people to avoid giving their waste to rogue traders, the SCRAP campaign will be highlighting how people can dispose of items and stay within the law.”

All the councils across Lincolnshire, the Environment Agency, Lincolnshire Police and the Crime Commissioner have joined to support the SCRAP fly-tipping campaign.

Marc Jones, Lincolnshire’s police crime commissioner, said: “Fly tipping is a terrible blight on our countryside and our communities, and I fully support the council in its proactive campaign to tackle this problem.

“It only takes a few seconds to check if a waste carrier is legitimate but that few seconds can make a huge difference in time, cost and damage.”

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